For instance, today, any trainer who says "We don't use food!" is probably using negative reinforcement, not positive.
As it is for many of us, food is a strong motivator for behavior! Yes, you can use other things to motivate but why take away one of the strongest! Soft treats, such as tiny bits of diced chicken or peanut butter, work better than dry. My rehab room is well stocked with a variety of tasty tidbits, including freeze dried liver, to encourage my patients to participate in their own rehab program.
The other theory that should be put to rest permanently is that you have to show the dog who is boss. The "I must win" attitude is a tough one to get rid of but its more about your ego than anything else. Once your dog's level of arousal is up and the epinephinephrine is flowing, it takes time for that to return to normal, so the tiniest little thing could trigger an even bigger response from the dog. And when it comes to physical rehab, forcing a dog to do something is not only counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve, it puts the pet at risk for further injury!
Making visits to the vet less stressful include altering the exam room to reduce fear and stress. That's why my rehab room doesn't look like the average vet exam room. I have the scent of lavenders in the air, a padded floor for better traction, calming music playing softly in the background, and my exams are done on the floor. With a fridge full of treats, a fresh bowl of water nearby for a quick doggie drink, and a drawer with toys in it, coming to rehab should be fun for you and your dog!